In 2003, a Hollywood adaptation of the cult classic comic book “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” or simply “LXG” written by the renowned Alan Moore was released in theaters. The film involved an alternative Victorian Era England where literary characters from that period, like Dorian Gray and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, were set up as a team against an unspeakable threat to the world. Everything looked like it was going to be a hit at the box office before the movie premiered. The film was directed by Stephen Norrington who helmed the beloved adaptation of another comic book favorite “Blade” five years before. Along with a director who looked like he knew how to direct comic book adaptations, there was the presence of the legendary Sean Connery as explorer Allan Quartermain from H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines. Unfortunately, the film disappointed at the box office along with critics and audiences. One must note that neither Norrington or Connery have worked in Hollywood since that time, which gives credence to the idea that this film was the straw that broke the camel’s back for both of them. Considering Hollywood’s resurgent idea that comic book adaptations are extremely profitable, I think that Hollywood should give LXG another chance as a film or a television show.
The recent fad for comic book adaptations started with the introduction of “Iron Man” in 2008 starring Robert Downey Jr, which kickstarted what has been called the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the MCU. Now it seems like every month there is another character being introduced to the masses with more and more of these types of films going into production. Before 2008, comic book adaptations to the big screen were hit and miss at the box office. For every “Batman” movie masterpiece starring Michael Keaton, there was the dismal disappointment “Howard the Duck”. That is not to say that all these films were necessarily bad, except “Howard the Duck”, which was terrible, but the audience was not craving this kind of films at the time. Which brings me back to LXG, I do think that the film was ahead of its time. If the film had come out ten years later in 2013, when comic book adaptations had become the rage, the craze would have propelled LXG to a higher box office total while still appealing to the core of fans of the comic book, like myself.
Anglophilia, the love for all things English, is all the rage in the film business now with many tv shows and movies dominated by the countries actors and directors. An example of this would be one of the biggest shows on the planet right now being “Game of Thrones” whose actors are predominantly from the UK. With this love for what is English, it would pave the way for a more faithful adaptation of LXG, who’s producers thought there should be an American character in the literary character Tom Sawyer. With this, the comic book’s fans, who whole heartedly disliked the 2003 film, would be onboard with a reboot and one does not want to make the fans of the original work hate the film at the present.
The final reason for a reboot of LXG would be the fact that gritty R-rated comic book films that show blood and grotesque images are “in” right now if there is an audience for it, which I would argue for LXG, there is. This can be shown with the box office hauls of “Deadpool” and “Logan” who were both R-rated hits. The adapted material for LXG written by the legendary Alan Moore, who is arguably the best comic book or graphic novel author of all time, was bloody, gory, with mature dialogue which was all pushed to the side for the 2003 film. Even with these films having a huge following because of their status as Marvel property, there are signs that R-rated comic book adaptations are happening. Next year, there will be a Hellboy reboot, who is owned by Dark House Comics. The film will be called Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen who’s director Neil Marshall says will be very much R-rated. This seems to pave the way for a more faithful film adaptation for LXG.
All of this is not to say that I know LXG is a film masterpiece, I knew even when I was a teenager that the film was not greatest by far. The film had almost too many faults, not being faithful to the original comic, introducing the character of the American Tom Sawyer who’s input to the story was boring and unenjoyable, and an antagonist who was unimaginative to say the least. The thing that caught my eye when I first saw it to the most recent time I did see it, was the world building of the alternative Victorian England. I love when filmmakers transport the audience to worlds that are not their own. I am a huge sucker for all the films, even the bad vampire movies that are dominating the film industry now. LXG is one of my favorite films from my childhood and I have kept the DVD through every move and adjustment in my life. It may be bad but it transports me back to my childhood where anything was possible and I do hope that a reboot for either TV or film will happen to satisfy the adult me.